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First half lead slips away from Bearcats

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FAIRFAX, Va. - Host George Mason (2-1) ended the game with a decisive 13-0 run to overtake Binghamton men's basketball (1-2) 69-57 Thursday night at the EagleBank Arena. The game was a Cancun Challenge campus game - the first of four games for the Bearcats in the event. 

Binghamton made a strong bid for an upset, leading for more than 25 minutes of the contest, including a double-digit margin in the first half. Junior forward Caleb Stewart tipped in a rebound with 5:49 to play to give the Bearcats their final lead of the game, 57-56. But the hosts took over from there, hitting three three-pointers in a 3:09 span to forge ahead. Meanwhile, BU finished the game by missing its last five shots and last three free throws. 

The Bearcats led by as many as 12 points in the first half and held a 47-36 lead 2:20 into the second half. George Mason, however, rattled off a 13-0 run to take a 49-47 lead with 13:01 left. Binghamton steadied itself and reclaimed the lead on a deep three-pointer from sophomore guard Fard Muhammad with 8:49 left, which gave BU a 54-51 margin. But ultimately, the shots didn't fall in the second half as BU struggled to 6-of-23 shooting (26%) over the final 20 minutes after shooting 54% (15-of-28) in a well-executed first half.

Binghamton was whistled for 13 fouls in the second half and big men Thomas Bruce and Bobby Ahearn were saddled with foul trouble throughout. Bruce wound up with nine points, six rebounds and a career-high five blocks in 25 minutes. Ahearn chipped in six points (3-for-3 FG) in just 13 minutes.

Junior guard J.C. Show led BU with 13 points - 10 of which came in the first half, when the Bearcats used a 15-4 run to open up a double-digit lead. Show scored eight points during the run, which featured a pair of three-pointers in a 17-second span. 

Senior forward Willie Rodriguez added 10 points.

The Bearcats head to Indiana to face Evansville at 4 p.m. (ET) on Saturday. Then the team finishes out the road trip with two games at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in Cancun.